P.J. Tucker has received plenty of criticism after signing a three-year, $33 million contract with the Philadelphia 76ers last summer, particularly because he only averages 3.5 points a game. Among those who believe the criticism directed at Tucker is unwarranted is Tobias Harris.
Harris explained to Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire why he believes Tucker’s low-scoring average should not be held against him.
“When anybody talks about the points scored is an idiot just because there isn’t much opportunity for him to go out and average eight or nine points. The man shoots the ball two times a game, so that’s a (expletive) claim.,” Harris said.
Harris added the kind of impact Harris has beyond the numbers, especially during the playoffs.
“He’s a guy who’s a winner, and every big game we’re in, those big teams and games that we play that felt like playoff environments, he’s out there making an impact. That’s where his game shines the most and also, just him being a vocal guy on this team, a leader, he’s the anchor to our defense, he can guard 1 through 5, he sacrifices offensively.”
Tobias Harris Compares P.J. Tucker’s Role to Previous Roles
Harris talked about why Tucker’s production with the Sixers differs from the production he had with his previous team, the Miami Heat.
“This is not like when he was in Miami. He had the ball touch his hands a lot more in the offense as well, but he just does all the little things to help you win. He wants to win so bad and he has won and he has experience as well.”
Tucker put up better scoring numbers with the Heat during the 2021-22 season, averaging 7.6 points, but that can be attributed to him having more shot attempts a game on average in Miami – six – compared to Philadelphia – three.
Harris is correct about the experience that Tucker brings to the team, as the latter won an NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021 and has been to multiple conference finals throughout his career with the Bucks, Heat, and Houston Rockets.
Doc Rivers Vocalizes P.J. Tucker’s Importance
Rivers agrees with Harris’ sentiment that Tucker’s impact shines in the postseason, believing that his toughness makes him a valuable player.
“I do think there is something to that,” Rivers told Ky Carlin. “I think they’re bigger games, and that’s why you have PJ. He’s tough. The good teams are all tough. The good teams are serious, they’re physical, they play hard, they execute, and PJ is great in those games, so I do think there’s something to that.”
Rivers then explained that Tucker’s ability to communicate on both ends of the floor helps the Sixers not make mistakes, which can help them grow.
“Teams that talk, man, it’s just so important defensively,” Rivers added. “It just eliminates all mistakes. You don’t have switching mistakes, you don’t have transition D mistakes when guys are hitting 3s, and that’s where as a team, we have to grow.”
Rivers has demonstrated consistent trust in Tucker throughout the season, starting him in every single game that Tucker has played for the Sixers.